DES MOINES, Iowa — For the fourth year in a row, hundreds of cars lined up outside North High School in Des Moines for the Prewinter Free Community Car Checkup put on by Urban Dreams.
“I have trouble with being in an older car and a limited income, so it really is a godsend for us,” Des Moines resident Deb Hike said.
Hike’s headlight went out the other night, so volunteers from DMACC, O’Halloran International and NAPA replaced the light for free and found a couple other things wrong with her car.
“They gave us that safety and reassurance that I’m not going to be stuck on the side of the road,” Hike said.
The event does more than just keep you from getting stuck on the side of the road because of car troubles. It hopes to prevent unnecessary traffic stops and negative interactions with police officers.
“If cars are running safe, then the police don’t have to pull them over and give them tickets,” Urban Dreams Executive Director Izaah Knox said.
Des Moines police refilled fluids, put on new windshield wipers, checked air pressure and they also helped families install new car seats, which is something officers are certified and trained to do.
“You get them latched in. If you don’t have the latch system, you have to bring the seat belt through the right way and make sure it’s in there nice and snug and not loose,” Knox said.
Many car seats get donated to the Des Moines Police Department.
“If we find an infraction, instead of writing a ticket, we bring them down to our office, we put in a new car seat for them,” Lt. David Seybert from the Des Moines Police Trafficking Department said.
And for that, the community is grateful.
“Getting to meet the police officers that we normally would in a crisis situation, it says a lot because then it’s a friendly face instead of something else when you’re in a panic,” Hike said.
The event ended at noon on Saturday. All repairs and checks were free to the public because of donations from NAPA, Broadlawns and other organizations.